HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
NASA probe could reveal comet life, scientists claim

Cardiff (UK) scientists are playing a major role in a NASA mission, which they believe could reveal living matter in the icy layers beneath the surface of a comet.

NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft will make a historic encounter with Comet Tempel-1 on 4th July, when a metre-long projectile will crash into the comet and tunnel through its outer layers, producing a crater and a plume of gas and dust.

UK astronomers involved in monitoring the comet before, during and after the impact and interpreting the results include Cardiff University's Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and Dr Max Wallis at the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology. They will conduct their study through instruments on the mother spacecraft.

The Cardiff scientists predict that Deep Impact will verify their theory that the outer crust of the comet will consist of asphalt-like material with permafrost beneath. The small icy fragments blasted out by the impact will include organic matter, they suggest.

The mainly copper projectile will hit the comet at 25,000 miles per hour and will penetrate 15-20 metres into the surface before exploding. The comet will remain intact despite losing a huge amount of material 100,000 tonnes from a 100 metre diameter crater, and the impact is not expected to alter the comet's orbit.

"Not only is Deep Impact a spectacular experiment, it is also a test for our long-standing arguments," added Professor Wickramasinghe. "It will show, we believe, that a comet is not a rubble pile, nor a conglomerate of ices, but a porous mass of organics and ice under the black asphalt crust."

Comets are thought to have accumulated from a mixture of ices and organic interstellar dust at the time the solar system was formed some 4.6 billion years ago.

"This material is quite porous, so it is daring again to predict that subsurface ponds or lakes form transiently due to heat penetrating the exterior crust. We can thus expect biology on c
'"/>

Contact: Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe
Wickramasinghe@cardiff.ac.uk
44-29-2087-4201
Cardiff University
29-Jun-2005


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Swarming starlings help probe plasma, crowds and stock market
2. Anthrax bacteriums deadly secrets probed
3. Measuring the unseeable: Penn researchers probe proteins dark energy
4. Researchers probe risks, benefits of folic acid fortification
5. MIT researchers probe bones tiny building blocks
6. Study to probe how healthy younger adults make use of genetic tests
7. York mathematician probes geometric route to combat viruses
8. Penn scientists engineer small molecules to probe proteins deep inside cell membrane
9. Simulated populations used to probe gene mapping
10. Super small nanoelectrodes can probe microscale environments
11. Prototype space probe prepares to explore Earths deepest sinkhole

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
TAG: NASA probe could reveal comet life scientists claim

(Date:7/25/2014)... MA A study published online in the ... a novel approach to preventing cervical cancer based on ... cancer after removal of a discrete population of cells ... a study that looked at squamocolumnar junction cells, or ... and have been implicated as the origins of cervical ...
(Date:7/25/2014)... has opened the way for the development of new lines ... annual barley production is second only to wheat with 7-8 ... most important diseases of barley. , Senior Research Scientist Dr ... growths on the cell walls of barley plants that block ... research, by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell ...
(Date:7/25/2014)... age girls reach puberty is influenced by ,imprinted genes,a subset ... the gene. This is the first evidence that imprinted ... details of this study were published today in the journal ... as menarche, is a marker for the timing of puberty ... menses varies between girls, is an inherited trait, and is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Clearing cells to prevent cervical cancer 2New hope for powdery mildew resistant barley 2Could age of first period influence development of diseases in older women? 2
(Date:7/24/2014)... July 24, 2014  Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. (OTCBB: ... field of regenerative medicine, announced today that it ... to investors on Tuesday, July 29, 2014, at ... will include an overview of Asterias, business strategy ... visit http://www.ustream.tv/channel/asterias-biotherapeutics at least 15 minutes ...
(Date:7/24/2014)... to materialise. Yet, scientists are making progress in ... One such approach relies on quantum dotsa kind ... electric field. A new study demonstrates that changing ... (TQDs) with electrical impulses can help better control ... be used as quantum information units, which would ...
(Date:7/24/2014)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ... Instruments Market 2014-2018" report to their offering. ... is the study of the gene and its functions ... functions of proteomes or sets of proteins by using ... the mapping of genes and DNA sequencing to understand ...
(Date:7/24/2014)... San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) July 24, 2014 ... Wednesday to be semi-finalists in Livestrong’s Big C Competition. ... Decisive Health are each headed to the semi-final round. ... in Livestrong’s exclusive three-month accelerator program, complete with mentoring ... country. , As part of the angelMD commitment ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Asterias Biotherapeutics Announces Live Investor Webcast 2Asterias Biotherapeutics Announces Live Investor Webcast 3Asterias Biotherapeutics Announces Live Investor Webcast 4Global Genomics and Proteomics Analytical Instruments Market 2014-2018: Key Vendors are Agilent, Bio-Rad , F. Hoffmann, La Roche, Illumina, PerkinElmer and Thermo Fisher Scientific 23 angelMD Startups Make Livestrong Big C Semi-finals 2
Cached News: